Urlaub – Vacation

Evan Weyrauch
April 24, 2014

The idea: A trip – 9 days in duration (from Friday, after our German exam, to the next Sunday before classes resumed on Monday). Perfect! But where should we go? How will get there? Where will we stay? The planning questions kept coming. France? Italy? Austria? Hungary? the wonderful Alps? or the gothic architecture of Prague?

Too many decisions to make!

We finally came up with our first destination: Munich. It was a relatively good starting point because it brought us South with the option of going into several different countries in the area (Austria, Czech-Republic, Hungary, Italy, and Switzerland). It also served as an opportunity for me  to visit my USA-college roommate while he studies abroad.

So off we went, buying our  bus tickets the day before and enduring the long 7 hour bus ride (which ended up becoming really short we started playing cards with a girl from Munich for half the ride). Then we arrived! We took the train out to Studentenstadt, where my roommate lives, and moved-in for the night.

 

A panoramic view of München

The next couple of days were filled with exploration as we visited places like the Hofbräuhaus, Marienplatz, Viktualienmarkt, the English Gardens, and the Allianz Arena. Munich was a great city! It was friendly, clean, and had lots to do. One of my favorite parts was when I was able to buy a ticket in front of the Allianz Arena for a Bayern München v. Hoffenheim game.

It was my third Fußball game (I went to both a Hertha BSC game and a FC Union Berlin game in Berlin) and was by far the best. I was seated directly behind Bayern’s fan section (which was perfect for me, being a fan, to experience the fan-atmosphere) and had  a great view of the game!

Outside of the Allianz Arena before the game.

The players walking to and from the goal line after the game!

The craziest part about the game was the fan section. Now, the entire arena was packed and the stadium was always chanting and singing but the fan section was consistently was on fire (metaphorically). Never resting and never quiet, they danced and jumped for all 90 minutes of the match. Located at the very front of the fan section were 3 different stations, all manned by a drummer and a fan with a microphone leading the cheers. I watched them for awhile and realized these guys never see the game! They cheer on their team by passionately leading their fan section.

It was moving.

The game ended in a draw: 3-3, unfortunately, but it was relatively high scoring (which made it very exciting).

We booked a mitfahrgelegenheit (German word for carpooling) to our next destination: Vienna. The mitfahrgelegenheit ended up being an oustanding experience (including the the other times we used it throughout our trip). Two of my friends and I traveled with Mario, a 27 year old Austrian, who was traveling home from Munich. We arrived late Monday night, checked into our hostel, and went to bed. The next morning we decided we only wanted to spend one day in Vienna so we dedicated our only day to seeing all the sights. This included the Schönbrunn Palace, Hofburg Palace, Museumsquartier, the Rathaus, the Austrian Parlament building, and an awesome modern art museum (named Mumonk). After a long day of exploring we booked our second carpool and left that night to Budapest, Hungary.

This is one of the many gardens inside the Schönbrunn Palace.

Here is a picture of a delicious meal a couple friends and I had in a small coffee shop in Vienna.

It was late that Tuesday night and we arrived to our hostel at 3am the next morning (thank goodness we were allowed to sleep in). Budapest (its name coming from the two different parts of the city: Buda and Pest) was by far my favorite city that I visited on the trip. Everything was close to each other (we walked every where and never used public transit) and the people were very nice. We stayed for 3 days (the Tuesday we arrived, Wednesday, and Thursday) and each day was packed with sight-seeing. We went to the Buda castle, Hungarian Parliament building, Chain bridge, Széchenyi Thermal Baths, Danube Promenade, and many others!

Picture of Buda Castle (Vajdahunyad Palace) in Budapest

Friends and I atop Buda Castle with the new district (pest) in the background.

My two favorite experiences in Budapest was the cheap and awesome haircut (around 5 euros) I got our first day and the Thermal Baths we visited on our last day. I unfortunately forgot to bring my speedo (on this specific trip), but was able to relax in several different baths, steam rooms, and saunas both inside and outside the facility.

In front of the Buda Castle

We left Budapest on Thursday night (8pm) and took an overnight train (with beds of course) to Prague (arrival time 7am). This worked out well because not only did we have a place to sleep, but were also on the move to another city at the same time! We got to our hostel before check-in time but were able to grab a free breakfast and directions on how to best see the city. Prague- like Budapest- has two parts to the city (an old Historic district and a new district) and, again like Budapest, both sides are divided a River (the Vitava River in Prague and the Danube River in Budapest).

So first we went to the top of their ‘Eiffel Tower’ to get a good look at the city.

Prague’s Eiffel Tower

A view of Prague from atop their mini ‘Eiffel Tower’

Super awesome right?! We spent the next couple of days visiting the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, the astronomical clock, the metronome, the old town square, Victory Hill, and many other places. We also met several people, all from different places, but a lot of them happened to be from Germany (probably because the Czech Republic is so close to Germany).

The old town square in Prague.

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.

We saw a lot in only 9 days and I can say without hesitation that I experienced more culture in those 9 days then I have in most of my life! The weather seemed to always agree with us, our rides never failed, and we always had a new area to explore- pretty awesome trip in all. If you’re ever in Europe I would hands-down recommend all of these places. It could be the friendly atmosphere of Munich, the energetic gothy streets of Prague, or the beautiful Vienna!

 

Evan Weyrauch

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Evan, I am a student at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI, and am currently a foreign exchange student studying in Berlin, Germany. I enjoy writing, reading, and photography. I meaningful experiences and I try my best to show that meaning through my work.</span></p>

Destination:
Term:
2014 Spring
Home university:
Carthage College
Major:
German Language
History
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